February/March 2013 Vol. 39 No. 3 Published by Senior Services of Snohomish County Feature Articles… Too old to hire, too young to retire? Nonsense! Research shows older workers are a bargain By Teresa Ambord Joanne Davis … She went from downtrodden to confident Page 6 Tax filing guidelines & free tax preparation options Page 16 Closing the Medicare Part D doughnut hole Page 8 Caregiving Seven tips for better life balance Page 19 Hoarding… There‘s danger in collecting too much ‘stuff ’ Page 5 Columns… BookNook....................................... 22 Elder Info......................................... 15 GetAways (Sr. Travel)..................... 12 Mr. Modem...................................... 24 Meal Times (Nutrition News)....... 20 Perspective on the Past................ 14 Pet Tails............................................ 23 Senior Spotlight............................... 6 Volunteer Connections................. 21 Where Are They Now?................... 22 Visit Senior Services at www.sssc.org Like us on This tough economy has been hard on all of us, in many cases, even harder for older workers or job seekers. After decades of loyal work, when we get laid off and begin the job search for new employment, the results are less than encouraging. Age discrimination is illegal, but we all know illegal things happen every day. Beyond that, the facts just don’t support the common notions that older workers are most costly and less productive. In spite of popular notions, employers who want more for their money would often be wise to hire grandma and grandpa. Here are some of the false stereotypes that are associated with older workers. Older workers cost more in health care. Yes, age often brings more health problems, and yes, older workers may take longer to recover from an illness or injury. However, research shows that, in general, older workers take fewer sick days. Many younger employees view paid sick days as extra vacation time to be taken at will. Older employees are far less likely to need dependent coverage. And once they become Medicare eligible at age 65, they may not need coverage at all. Older workers are less productive. One study revealed that older workers have greater interpersonal skills, making them more able to deal face-to-face with customers as well as facilitating relationships with coworkers and superiors. As more and more conversations move online, younger generations are certainly adept at virtual communication and often less skilled at actual interaction. Older workers also get a job, learn it, and stick with it, whereas CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 The work of the people It’s time to let your voice be heard By Jim Steinruck, CEO Senior Services of Snohomish County With the beginning of the new Congress in the other Washington and our legislative sessions here in Olympia the work of the people is in full swing this month. And while the daily headlines, TV commentators, and online blogs may suggest it is all about the two parties besting each other; in fact that is the side show. The true “work of the people” involves thoughtful analysis of many competing needs and the passage of wise legislation to meet those needs. Never has this been truer than now with budget deficits at both the state and federal level. This is not a theoretical problem and the decisions made in Washington D.C. and Olympia during the coming months will directly impact the lives of Snohomish County residents. Sign up today … The Senior Focus is published bi-monthly (February, April, June, August, October and December) as a community service by Senior Services of Snohomish County. We are committed to educating and entertaining readers with information that reflects the diverse interests and needs of the senior community. To receive the Senior Focus in the mail, phone 425.290.1277 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include “subscription” in the subject line). Donations to cover the costs associated with publishing and mailing the Senior Focus are welcome and appreciated. Community based non-profit organizations rely on federal and state funds to ensure the frail and vulnerable in our community are able to access essential services. This is certainly true at Senior Services of Snohomish County; whether it is a ride to a medical appointment for a person with disabilities or home delivered meals for a homebound senior; government dollars form the greatest portion of our financial support. If government support is cut from programs that support those most in need – those most in need will be harmed. For example, the automatic spending cuts that would occur with se- questration will eliminate 9,800 meals from Meals on Wheels and 85 older adults who currently receive meals would be cut from our Meals on Wheels program. That is the very real and stark reality we face in Snohomish County. Unfortunately, with many interests competing for time on the legislative docket, those without power or influence can be shut out of the conversation and their voice never heard. To avoid this outcome, Senior Services is working in collaboration with the Snohomish County Council on Aging and United Way of Snohomish County to make CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 Senior Services has moved Senior Information and Assistance. Family Caregiver program, Mental Health services, Multicultural services,Victims of Crime Assistance, SHIBA, Senior Nutrition, Minor Home Repair, Senior Focus Newspaper and SSSC administrative offices are located at: 11627 Airport Rd., Suite B, Everett 98204 (One block west of Highway 99 on Airport Rd) Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART), Transportation Assistance Program (TAP) and SnoTrac are located at: 11323 Commando Rd. W., Suite 215, Everett 98204 Phone numbers did not change. See page 11 for listing.